By Prescotte Stokes III
You can find the original article here.
During a short break from medical school during Summer 2021, Sereena Jivraj, a second-year medical student at the TCU School of Medicine, had a burning desire to create something.
She combined her love for science, medicine and children for something special. She made the most of her time by writing two children’s books entitled, “Connor and His Composting Adventures” and “Ella and Her Vaccine Soldiers.”
“I’ve had these ideas in the back of my mind for some time,” Jivraj said. “I’ve spent so much time around children whether that was tutoring or babysitting and I’ve always been reading children’s books for years and it just felt like I’ve been so involved with kids in the past that it would be cool to keep it going in the future.”
In “Connor and His Composting Adventures,” Connor learns what the difference is between compost and regular trash. Throughout the course of the story Connor learns what everyday items can be composted and how to prevent trash from ending up in a landfill.
“The point is just to educate kids and even parents on what composting is,” Jivraj said. “A lot of people when you speak to them about it they’ve never heard of it. What I really wanted to do is be able to instill that knowledge from a young age. Hopefully that will make it easier to make changes in our society one day in the future.”
Her second children’s book called “Ella and Her Vaccine Soldiers” is about young Ella’s visit to her doctor. Ella learns how important vaccines are and how they can turn into “mini soldiers” to help her body fight viruses and diseases.
“With COVID-19 around last few years and previously with flu shots, I can remember everyone being afraid to go to the doctor just because they knew a shot was coming,” Jivraj said. “I want kids’ fears to be diminished so they can have a healthy relationship with their doctors and not fear them because you’re really brave when you get these vaccinations. I don’t want this fear of vaccines to prevent you getting the help that you need.”
Writing the books was a process that helped Jivraj tackle some of her own issues with long form writing. She reached out to the medical school’s Compassionate Practice® team after she did some volunteer work gathering donations for homeless individuals in Fort Worth and felt compelled to pen a poem about her experience.
“I used it as a way to get out my emotions and help me decompress,” Jivraj said. “I went to the Compassionate Practice® team and that kind of gave me the confidence to do this because I always felt like writing was my weakness.”
She also talked to Samir Nangia, M.D., a Physician Development Coach at the medical school, about the idea of penning the children’s books. During their chats, Dr. Naniga said that her urged Jivraj not to put her ideas off and take some time during her break to pursue them.
“In some instances, through coaching we can help students become more efficient with their time management and help them discover what resources they need to make their dreams a reality,” Dr. Nangia said. “However, in some instances all it takes is that motivation and emotional support. Both of which were true in Sereena’s case.”
In addition to embracing her creativity, Jivraj said that she chose to author children’s books so the information would be easy to understand and accessible to all people.
“This is a book that you can read to your child in your belly or read to your newborn,” Jivraj said. “Because just exposing them to the vocabulary and to the words it helps create those processes in their brains so when they are exposed to it later on, they are not completely confused about it.”
Both books “Connor and His Composting Adventures” and “Ella and Her Vaccine Soldiers” are available in the Amazon Store as a download or paperback version. They are also available to download on Kindle.